Succulents are popular indoor plants among plant parents or enthusiasts. They are effortlessly beautiful and easy to care for. But you may be wondering if they pose a threat to you, your small children, or your beloved pets. While most succulents are completely safe to keep, some may be harmful if ingested.
Both Kalanchoe and Euphorbia succulents pose a mild threat to humans. You should keep pets away from these succulents as well in conjunction with plants like Aloe, Crassula Ovata (Jade plants), Senecio Rowleyanus (String of Pearls), and Sansevieria Trifasciata (Snake plants).
If you are thinking of getting a few succulents to brighten up your home, or if you already own succulents of your own, it is important to know which species may be considered poisonous. Our guide gives you a quick rundown of which succulents may be harmful and their side effects.
Are Succulents Poisonous To Humans?
The simple answer to this question is – unfortunately – yes, succulents can be poisonous. But this is not true for all types of succulents.
Some succulents may have sharp spines or thorns that can cause injury. There are also a few types of succulents that are considered poisonous, but only if they are ingested or their sap gets into your eyes. These include succulents such as Kalanchoe and Euphorbia.
Euphorbia succulents are members of the Euphorbiaceae plant family. They are a flowering plant that grows mostly in tropical and subtropical climates. These succulents are recognized for their large, fleshy leaves, eye-catching flowers, and cactus-like appearance.
This plant produces a milk-like sap that is toxic to people and pets. The sap is frequently found on and excreted by the succulent’s leaves. If this sap comes into contact with exposed skin, it may produce a painful rash.
Similarly, if Euphorbia sap gets into your eyes, it can cause irritation and redness. Handling Euphorbia succulents requires the use of gloves and eye protection.
If you get Euphorbia sap on your skin, wash it off right away with plenty of lukewarm water. Because the sap is sticky, you may need more water and soap to get it off your skin. You should also start cleaning your eyes immediately with lukewarm water if Euphorbia sap gets into them.
Kalanchoe succulents are generally found in cute containers in florist shops or garden stores. They produce a little cluster of flowers with one huge bulb perched above the stalk. Kalanchoe succulents’ broad leaves are usually a striking green color, and there are up to 125 different species of this type of succulent.
When consumed, most forms of the Kalanchoe plant induce mainly nausea and vomiting. If you or someone that you know has ingested a piece of Kalanchoe succulent, rinse your mouth with water and wipe your lips with a soft towel.
You should call the Poison Center to speak with a poison information professional about possible symptoms if exposed to either Euphorbia or Kalanchoe poisoning.
Are Succulents Poisonous To Cats?
Succulents can be fantastic, low-maintenance houseplants for humans, but they aren’t always the best choice if you have pets. But, like most houseplants, some types of this popular plant can be harmful to your kitties if consumed.
These include Aloe, Crassula Ovata (Jade plants), Senecio rowleyanus (String of Pearls), and Sansevieria Trifasciata (Snake plants). Like humans, cats are also susceptible to Euphorbia and Kalanchoe poisoning.
Aloe is a wide and popular species that includes little dwarf species and big tree-like plants that can grow to be a whopping 30 feet tall.
Although aloe vera has numerous medical and useful benefits for humans, it is harmful to cats if consumed. The primary toxin in Aloe is Saponin, a substance found in the plant that can cause significant problems in your kitten’s system.
Symptoms of Aloe poisoning in cats include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, allergic skin reactions or skin irritation, drowsiness, and even tremors.
Crassula Ovata, also referred to as the Jade plant, is a type of succulent plant genus with a considerable number of species. Jade plants, often known as money trees, lucky plants, and friendship trees, are among the most popular and abundant succulents. Their leaves are big, plump, glossy, and silky, and they grow in small clusters.
These Jade plants can cause vomiting, incoordination, and severe tiredness or lethargy if ingested.
Senecio Rowleyanus – otherwise known as String of Pearls – is available in various shapes and growth patterns. Evidence shows that ingesting String of Pearls can result in a few adverse symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.
You should be careful if you keep this succulent as a houseplant and should always keep their hanging leaves away from your curious or playful cats.
Snake plants, or Sansevieria Trifasciata, are ideal beginning plants because of their capacity to be left unattended for long periods. Snake plants are known to help to clean the air in your house by eliminating formaldehyde and benzene pollutants.
Snake plants also contain Saponin, a chemical component that can cause discomfort, and that is also found in various other plant species. When swallowed, Snake plants produce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea symptoms.
Are Succulents Poisonous To Dogs?
When looking at succulents, the same species that are toxic to humans and cats are toxic for man’s best friend. So, if you own any of the previously mentioned succulents, you should be sure to keep them in a hard-to-reach place where your pooch will remain unharmed.
If you would like to avoid potentially poisonous plants, but you still want to introduce a few gorgeous succulents into your houseplant collection, you should think about purchasing one of the following plants that are safe for all pets:
- Sedum Morganianum (Donkey’s or Burro’s Tail)
- Graptopetalum Paraguayense (Ghost Plant)
- Sempervivums (Hens and Chickens)
- Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus)
- Beaucarnea Recurvata
- Mesembryanthemaceae (Lithops)
- Opuntia (Prickly Pear Cactus)
Succulents make excellent plants and are almost effortless to care for. You should always be careful to do your research on any plants you bring into your home and pay special attention to their potential toxicity toward children and pets.
If you already own a poisonous succulent, there is no need to panic. Simply keep them out of reach of little hands and sharp teeth, or replace them with some of our top picks for safe succulents.